Kidney-Friendly Blackberry Spinach Salad (with a secret touch of bacon)
I know what you’re thinking…another salad. BUT, I don’t apologize. It is 120’F in Arizona, and the heat index is over 100 here in Texas. Heat, heat, heat outside, means that I do not want to put anything hot inside. I don’t want hot inside the house from my oven and definitely am not thinking about a hot meal for my belly. So, yeah, salad it is again. You’ll be glad I’m stuck on salad once you taste this though…
You see, blackberries were $0.99 a carton at the grocer this week and absolutely delicious. I don’t always love blackberries as they are often sour. But these babies were soft and sweet. I have been so enamored by them all week (and had a very plentiful supply due to their price) that I wanted to make some sort of kidney-friendly-blackberry-something. I wanted something unusual though – not a cake, pie, cobbler or muffin. We just had chicken the night before so I also didn’t want to do the blackberry-barbecue chicken that I see floating around the internet though I’m sure its good (uh, but, yeah, once again a hot meal – no way!) This salad, repeated across multiple sites and blogs consistently had high ratings and now I know why.
This recipe is full of kidney-friendly ingredients and is not only beautiful but stunning when it comes to flavor. Here is our 7 point rundown on the ingredients
1) Spinach (yeah, raw spinach is okay since it only rolls in at 167 mg potassium for a 1 cup serving – this meets our <200mg criteria). I accidentally picked up a spinach and baby kale mix at the store which ended up being incredible for this salad since the baby kale had just the tiniest bit of bite to it.
2) Blackberries (of course) – 117 mg of potassium for 1/2 cup. I actually only used 5 or 6 individual berries for my salad so I didn’t even use a full half cup per serving of salad (but you could!). Oh, and rolling in at 4 gm of fiber for a 1/2 cup serving isn’t too shabby either.
3) A sprinkle of feta – I know feta ain’t low sodium ( ~150 mg for a tablespoon). That’s why we use a sprinkle. It is a strong, but amazing flavor and really makes the sweet blackberries sing.
4) Sliced Green onion. Not much to say here, but a good addition.
5) A few slivered almonds (like <1 tbsp). Okay, don’t have a phosphorus freak-out. I know high phosphorus! I literally chopped 1 single almond to add a little bit of crunch to the salad. I don’t think it actually added much to the flavor, but it looked especially fancy.
6) A good dressing. We used our super-duper kidney-friendly balsamic vinaigrette that we had leftover from last week. It was perfect for this salad.
6) MOST IMPORTANTLY – the smallest, but most delectable, delightful sprinkle of real bacon. It was probably only 1/2 of a bacon slice or less per salad, but this made this salad a show-stopper. Because I didn’t want to dirty another dish, I literally sliced 1/2 slice of bacon, wrapped it in a paper towel, and microwaved it for a couple of minutes until it was crispy and perfect. Minimal mess and, again, a perfect addition.
I loved this. This is how much I loved it: we served it to company that night. I ate it at work the next day for lunch and I am adding to my personal repertoire. You could leave off the almond(s) if you wanted to since they didn’t add much flavor, but I would keep the bacon. My husband didn’t know there was bacon in it when he took his first bite and told me, “OH! Bacon! Wow! Thanks!” As a side-note: if you serve to a crowd you can mix it all together and then just toss with your dressing at the end.
- 4 cups spinach, fresh
- ½ cup blackberries, fresh
- 2 tablespoons feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons cooked bacon
- 2 green onion stalks
- 5-6 raw or toasted almonds (opt)
- ¼ c balsamic vinaigrette
- Layer spinach, blackberries, and green onion. Drizzle with dressing and toss. Sprinkle with feta crumbled bacon. Serve immediately. Alternatively, mix all fresh ingredients add feta, bacon, and dressing right before serving.